TIME TRAVEL, The all pervading sense that it’s real, that in another space and time my Ancestors exist….that they live, going about their daily lives unaware that they are dead. I am in a constant state of emotional turmoil….my head cannot grasp the concept at the same time as I am buying into it completely. We all have, haven’t we?
AND THERE’S THAT BOX OF LETTERS ….Sent from Jamie and Claire across the span of two hundred years, where they finally arrive at Jamie’s old home Lallybroch, to be read by Bree and Roger, and eventually to their Grandchildren. An act of Faith.
Listening to An Echo in the Bone a few days ago, I once more felt the sharp sting of tears as I hear Jamie’s voice speaking across the void of time…..December 31, 1776
“My dear daughter, as you will see if ever you receive this, we are alive.”
And yet, as Roger reads this to Brianna, we all know they are by now, surely dead.
Those letters, some written on the paper Bree made herself with tiny inclusions of an insect’s wing, a small flower petal or leaf, still in good condition, real, held, touched with love and awe, and read as we do the books, over and over again.
Bree sometimes feels the need to open the box when Roger’s away…..just to touch the same paper her parents have touched, to hold them close, sure as she opens the box that a soft whiff of medicinal herbs floats up and out through the opening lid….knowing the painful difficulties her beloved father has to endure to write to her specifically, with his maimed right hand.
“It is the Feast of all Saints….pray for me.”…..and her tearful response…..”Bloody man, I knew you’d make me cry.”
I cannot wrap my head around how those letter arrive in the Twentieth Century, I understand the concept, I believe they have arrived, yet no matter how many times I hear or read this story I am left asking the same question….”how did that box of precious letters travel through time???”
In a phone conversation with my eldest son today, he asked as he always does, what I was doing….so I told him I’d been searching for photos of handmade paper and an appropriate box for the piece I was writing tonight. That got us, mainly me, talking about Ancestry….about the very few precious details I have found out very recently.
And mentioning Outlander and the idea of time travel, I found myself too choked up to speak….I was trying to tell him that because of this extraordinary story, I feel my Ancestors near me, in a way I never had before. I suggested to him that perhaps they still exist in their own bubble of time…..My Grandmother and Great Grandmother, Little Tailors in London…..the three generations of Scottish Sea Captains…..of course I carry them with me, they live on through me…..but I meant more.
Are they still doing what they did, even though I’ve read the dates of their deaths.
I couldn’t go on, as my son spoke gently to me, patient, perplexed, puzzled.
He’s not been seduced by this strange, mysterious story…..that asks so many questions of us….leaves us caught up in its perfect, elusive mystery.
THE BOX OF LETTERS is an ongoing Enchantment.
THE SEDUCTION AND ENCHANTMENT OF OUTLANDER
Summer, Central Victoria, Australia 2020
Random excerpts from An Echo in the Bone
By Diana Gabaldon
Photos of Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are property of STARZ